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Life in Greencastle - Carrying the Light of Christ

Way back in June I talked to Doug Miller about gathering up some of our children to bring the light of Christ into our sanctuary on Sunday mornings. Doug was more than willing, and in the last couple of weeks he has been talking with the kids about what this means and finding a few volunteers. You may have even seen the announcement in Church Connections: the acolytes are returning.

I can remember serving as an acolyte a few times as a young boy. It was one of my first tastes of a holy responsibility, and both the "holy" part and the "responsibility" part made my sisters laugh. I was known for running through yards with dirt on my knees, not walking solemnly down an aisle carrying a little flower of flame. But one Sunday, as the congregation walked past me and took their seats in the sanctuary, I was invited to stay outside the sanctuary with one of the elders. I don't remember who the elder was, but I remember he held a strange wooden and brass staff that had a little bell attached to it, the likes of which I had never seen and could only guess at its purpose. Then, as I stood next to the elder, he gently pushed a small lever forward on the staff, and as he did he lit a match and touched the flame to a small piece of wick. Gently handing the staff to me, he placed his hand on my back and pointed me towards the front of the sanctuary. I could see people standing and singing, and the room seemed to increase to the length of a football field. I was being asked to carry this light all the way up there!

Perhaps it is because I can still remember the timidity with which I carried that light, but I find it deeply significant to watch a child carry in the light of Christ. I can still see the earnest, intent look of the children in the last church I served - holding the light before them, afraid to breathe too hard, walking gingerly ... a simple devotion.

I think it is an incredible representation of what the life of faith looks like: holding out a light of hope before us. It reminds me of the tales Tolkein tells about Frodo and his journey to carry forth a ring. It reminds me that we never feel comfortable with these holy responsibilities, but somehow we just learn to put one foot in front of the other and walk the path before us. Through faithfulness we learn perseverance.

This Sunday some of our children will carry the light of Christ for us. As they do, I hope it will stir up reminders for you that you are invited to carry the light of Christ with you wherever you go. As one poet has put it: "Take to the world this love, this hope and faith. Take to the world this rare, relentless grace."

Remember: even now you are invited to carry the light of Christ before you - to hold forth the peace, love and joy of your King. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. He'll show you where to go.



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